Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Computer Science department receives national certification

Courseware developed by the Computer Science Department at UIS has received certification for compliance with two national standards for information assurance education and training. A certificate stating that the department has met national standards was presented to UIS on June 5 by Dr. Linton Wells II, principal deputy assistant secretary of defense, networks, and information integration at The Colloquium for Information Systems Security Education. Computer Science faculty Ted Mims and Sviatoslav Braynov received the certificate on behalf of the university. Read more>>

32 students inducted into honor society

Thirty-two students from UIS' College of Business and Management were inducted into Sigma Beta Delta – an international honor society in business, management, and administration – in a ceremony and reception held on campus in May. For business students who attend a college or university with a Sigma Beta Delta chapter, membership is the highest national recognition they can receive. Read more>>

"Sangamon Valley Roots Revival Radio Hour" debuts on WUIS

"The Sangamon Valley Roots Revival Radio Hour," a new locally produced program, will premiere on Public Radio WUIS 91.9FM-WIPA 89.3FM on Sunday, July 2, at 5 p.m.

Hosted by Sean Burns, the hour-long, Sunday-evening program will feature the roots of American music – from the blues, western swing, and hillbilly bop of the 1940s to the rockabilly of the 1950s and the Bakersfield twang of the 1960s.
Read more>>

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Editorial praises Chris Miller's work

The following editorial about Chris Miller’s excellent work in coordinating the city’s minority recruitment effort appeared in the June 14, 2006 edition of The State Journal-Register.

Recruiting efforts paying off for city

THE PROBLEM of low minority numbers in the Springfield Police Department is far from solved, but news this week is good – very good, in fact.
We aren’t hesitant to offer criticism – the constructive kind, we hope – when we believe Mayor Tim Davlin is missing the mark. It is only fair that we offer kudos when he hits the bull’s eye as he did this week in announcing that the percentage of minority applicants who took the police officer exam this past weekend was over 21 percent – that compares to just 9.7 percent who took the test in 2005.

DAVLIN HAS graciously given much of the credit for the improved numbers to the work of Chris Miller, a University of Illinois at Springfield professor who was hired by the city three months ago to coordinate the city’s minority recruiting effort.
Miller is quick to deflect much of the credit back to Davlin, saying the mayor is serious about minority recruiting and is committed to doing the job right.
“We still have work to do. We’re moving into the realm of fire and rescue as well. But obviously we’re really pleased with our initial efforts,” said Miller. “I think when you talk about success, it absolutely stems from leadership. And I think the leadership of the city has been stellar in this situation.”
While the city entered into an agreement with UIS just three months ago, Miller notes that the university had been courting the city in hopes of assisting with the recruitment efforts for several months prior. To Davlin’s credit, he recognized the merits of Miller’s proposal and by all accounts has made sure the city bought into the plan.

MUCH OF WHAT Miller has done is common sense. Yet it is common sense that was too often ignored in the past. The city/UIS recruiting team has been aggressive in visiting career fairs both locally and across the Midwest. It has revamped the city’s marketing strategy to more effectively reach minority candidates – buying billboards on the city’s east side, advertising in two newspapers with high minority readership and intensively reaching out to minorities who showed an interest in becoming Springfield cops.
Miller’s group built an impressive database of 189 minorities interested in the police department. Every one of those potential applicants was contacted 15 times prior to the test this past Sunday to make sure they knew the city was truly interested in them as potential employees. Miller said contacts were made by letter (including one from the acting police chief), by phone and, of course, by e-mail. Intense? Yes. Effective? Definitely. Fifty-eight minorities showed up to take the test.
A $25 application fee also was dropped (most cities don’t charge to take a test, putting Springfield at a disadvantage). The test was given in both Springfield and at Malcolm X College in Chicago. And numerous practice sessions were held to help prepare the candidates.

THIS ALL SPEAKS of a city that is truly interested in creating a more diverse police department. But as Miller said, more work needs to be done. And, of course, the test takers must also be able to translate into actual employees.
Ward 2 Ald. Frank McNeil hopes to meet with the mayor this week to again push an initiative that could help in that regard. McNeil would like to see the city go to a pass/fail system for the exam. “It still is the personality, the interaction with people. There’s a whole lot that goes into being a good police officer other than just a score on a damn test,” said McNeil.
It’s a controversial idea, but one worth considering. We’ll discuss why soon.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Center for Entrepreneurship awards grants to local businesses

On June 16 UIS' Center for Entrepreneurship awarded $5,000 in matching grants to ten small businesses in Springfield. The awards were the first ever to be given by the Center, located in UIS' College of Business and Management.

The Center received the $50,000 in grant funds through the Innovate Illinois Project operated by the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity. The project is designed to identify innovative small businesses that create economic development and jobs in Illinois. Read more>>

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Media Advisory: Center for Entrepreneurship to award grants

UIS' Center for Entrepreneurship will award grants to ten small innovative local businesses at 12:45 p.m. Friday, June 16, in the PAC restaurant. The grants program is intended to foster small business growth in the Greater Springfield area. Read more>>

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Public Policy Summit will examine politics and religion

"Politics and Religion: Conflict and Coexistence at Home and Abroad" is the topic of the fourth annual Public Policy Summit, to be held Tuesday, June 20, at UIS. The event is sponsored by UIS' Center for State Policy and Leadership and is open to the public.

Three sessions will feature: a luncheon keynote address by Dr. Diana Eck of Harvard University on "Religious Pluralism: Civic and Political Issues in a New Religious America"; an afternoon panel discussion on "Islam in America" led by UIS Associate Professor of Economics Baker Siddiquee; and an evening keynote address by Dr. Noah Feldman of New York University, who will speak on "Iraq, Islam, and Democracy." Read more>>